Civil Litigation Overview

Ohio and West Virginia Civil Litigation Attorney

Fields, Dehmlow & Vessels handles most common civil litigation matters, which can arise from any dispute between persons or organizations. Litigating a civil matter can often be a lengthy and costly endeavor, so we make every effort to resolve disputes as efficiently as possible. The best solution is usually a negotiated solution, and resolving the matter earlier is often better. Filing a lawsuit should be the last resort.

As noted by Abraham Lincoln, “Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser – in fees, expenses, and time. As a peacemaker, the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.”

Sometimes, however, the only choice is to go to court. The attorneys at Fields, Dehmlow & Vessels have experience going to court in order to resolve civil disputes. This experience includes navigating the entire process from initiating the action, negotiating settlements, mediating resolutions, trying cases before judges and juries, and arguing before appellate courts.

Results Matter

We endeavor to resolve civil lawsuits as quickly and efficiently as possible, but sometimes we have to fully litigate matters all the way to final resolution in court. We try cases. It is important to obtain counsel that can and will resolve the matter in court, which may require arguing the case before a jury. Some previous litigation results include:

  • November 2007, obtained a jury verdict for $79,000 on behalf of an elderly man who suffered a broken sternum in an automobile collision
  • February 2008, after a bench trial,  obtained a $100,000 judgment on behalf of a man who suffered a concussion resulting from an assault and battery
  • June 2008, obtained summary judgment in federal court, ordering a successor company to pay over $50,000 in unpaid medical claims on behalf of two employees whose medical benefits had been wrongfully denied
  • July 2008, along with co-counsel, obtained a jury verdict for $389,000 on behalf of commercial property owners whose property had been taken by the state in order to widen a highway
  • August 2008, secured a jury verdict for $287,500 on behalf of a client who had suffered a brain injury that permanently destroyed the client’s ability to smell
  • November 2008, obtained summary judgment and dismissal on behalf of a home inspection company sued by a disgruntled property owner
  • May 2019, obtained a jury verdict in the Gallia County Court of Common Pleas for Diana Casto and her husband, Dana

We have litigated the following types of matters:

  • Personal injury
  • Insurance litigation, including health and life insurance
  • Eminent domain
  • Property damage
  • Business disputes
  • Construction disputes
  • Product warranty and defects
  • Collection of unpaid debt
  • Estate and probate litigation
  • Real estate disputes
  • Environmental litigation

Efficiency Matters

Lawsuits can be very expensive, and we understand that. There is little to be gained by spending $95 to win (or to prevent the adversary from winning) $100. In every case, we discuss the costs and benefits of proceeding with a lawsuit, as we want to be the solution, not another part of the client’s problem. If legal fees will consume a large portion of the amounts involved, we often advise clients that pursuing (or defending) a lawsuit may not be worth it.

In cases where litigating is necessary, we proceed efficiently. Everything we do during a lawsuit is aimed at winning at trial, collecting the debt, or resolving the matter quickly in our client’s favor. We do not engage in endless discovery, take depositions that do not matter, or file meaningless motions.

In more than half of our cases, we work on a contingent fee – a percentage of the amount recovered. We find that this arrangement firmly aligns our goals with our clients’ goals. If there is no result, there is no fee. Clients dislike nothing more than receiving a bill for services without seeing results, and the contingent fee means we share the risk with our clients. Furthermore, contingent fees make it possible for clients without financial means to hire an attorney and achieve justice. Not every case is a candidate for a contingent fee, and not every client wants a contingent fee. Whether to proceed on a contingent fee is a case-by-case determination. Some cases (usually when defending) simply cannot be litigated using a contingent fee. We still take the same approach when charging an hourly fee. We litigate with an eye toward winning, not creating billable hours.

Co-counsel and Local Counsel

Our firm is fortunate to have litigated in trial courts throughout Southeastern Ohio and Northern West Virginia. We have tried cases in Washington, Athens, Meigs, Guernsey,  and Monroe counties in Ohio and , Wirt and Wood counties in West Virginia. We have litigated and argued before the courts in Gallia, Muskingum, Morgan, Coshocton, and Belmont counties, and in the Ohio Fourth District Court of Appeals. We have also litigated a number of cases in the federal district courts in the Southern District of Ohio and the Southern District of West Virginia.

We have increasingly begun to work as co-counsel on litigation matters with distant and out-of-state attorneys. Some cases involve only appearing for a single hearing on behalf of an out-of-town attorney. In other cases, we have joined non-local counsel and served as co-counsel throughout a case – all the way through a jury trial.

When serving as co-counsel or local counsel, we aim to meet the needs of the counsel retaining us. Depending on the attorney’s desires, we sometimes work in the background to help with discovery or deposition scheduling. At other times, we will take a very active role to include conducting all of the discovery and depositions and trying the case with co-counsel.

We have found that our familiarity, experience, and proximity to the courts in Southeastern Ohio and Northern West Virginia have yielded excellent results for our co-counsel and clients. If your firm has a litigation matter in Southeastern Ohio or Northern West Virginia, please contact us, and we will endeavor to work with you to maximize the efficiency for you and your client.